Creamy Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

by Heather on November 21, 2011

This past Friday I watched Friends for the first time in months.  It was the one with the Unagi.  We know this can only lead to good things.

Nate is shocked that when Friends first came out I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I have to say that I’m thankful that my parents only let us watch things like Full House and all the of the fabulous shows on Friday nights.  Oh, and Fresh Prince, which I am convinced I will always know the theme song too.  I picture a 70-something-year-old me rapping along to it to impress my grandchildren.  Because clearly they will know who Will Smith is and enjoy the Carlton dance as much as I still do.  Of course.

But I say that I’m glad my parents didn’t let me watch Friends because I honestly don’t know if I would think it was as funny when I was 12 as I do now.  Adult relationships are so foreign when you’re barely in middle school, but now it all makes sense.  Since I always act like an adult these days.  Duh.

 

So why am I talking about the Friends episode with the Unagi?  Well, if you remember clearly (and if you don’t you should go watch the episode again) Monica and Chandler are celebrating Valentine’s Day late since she had to work, and promised each other homemade gifts.  They both forgot but Chandler found a random mixed tape that he gave to her only to find out that she forgot to make him something.  So after an evening of adult fun Monica makes him one of his favorite meals – macaroni and cheese with cut-up hotdogs!

 

Now to clarify I was never a fan of mac and cheese and hotdogs together, but methinks the pregnancy hormones are working their magic and made it sound pretty fabulous.  If you’re not a fan though, or not pregnant, and don’t want to toss the chicken sausage in there then don’t – it’s heavenly without it too!

CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH MACARONI & CHEESE

  • 1 lb. pasta of choice (I used Dreamfields Healthy Carb Living Penne, which was a fantastic choice.  The company sent it to me to try, but I would definitely spend my own money on it because it’s delicious)
  • 1 15-oz can butternut squash puree
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – it balances out the sweetness of the squash)
  • 12 oz chicken apple sausage (optional)

Turn your oven to broil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions til it reaches just before al dente – it will sit in the sauce for a bit and will finish cooking.  In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the flour and whisk together to form a quick roux.  Let the butter and flour cook for about a minute and then stream in the milk while whisking to mix everything well.  Add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, onion powder and cayenne and whisk to combine.  Let the milk mixture come up to a simmer and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and the squash.  Taste for seasoning – you may want to add more salt or pepper.  If you’re using chicken sausage, add it in here.  Pour the pasta in and fold it with the sauce, then place under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.  Serve hot!

I feel like such a grown-up when my food cravings come from 1990′s TV shows.  Maybe next week I’ll make a peanut butter and pickle sandwich…I’m sure it’s been done before :)

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim in MD November 21, 2011

That was a great episode of Friends! This looks delicious, Heather. I am loving the addition of the butternut squash! :-)

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2 Blog is the New Black November 21, 2011

This is like the 3rd recipe I’ve seen for this today! (Or something similar!) Need to make it soon!

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3 Anna @ On Anna's Plate November 21, 2011

Hahaha…I love that episode :-) And this looks very tasty!

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4 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) November 21, 2011

That’s one of my favorite FRIENDS episodes! So funny!

Your din looks good too!

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5 Julie @SavvyEats November 21, 2011

DANGER!

I lovvvvve that episode. And I used to LOVE mac & cheese with cut-up hot dogs as a kid. Still do, from time to time.

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6 Heather November 22, 2011

hahaha i love how they yell DANGER! like that…like an attacker is going to do the same thing. i stinking love that show!

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7 Delishhh November 21, 2011

OMG does this taste 1000 times better pregnant. . .looks sooo good.

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8 Brooke C November 21, 2011

I first saw this on the Pioneer Woman last year when she featured In SockMonkey Slippers (another food blog) recipe and I will tell you it is an amazing recipe! We cook it all the time and I will do what you did and add sausage next time I cook it. Love butternut squash in mac and cheese! Yours looks delish

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9 Erin November 21, 2011

That is one dreamy and creamy mac and cheese! Hard to believe it is butternut squash.

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10 Jessica @ How Sweet November 21, 2011

I wasn’t allowed to watch Friends either! I had to sneak it. :)

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11 Julie @SavvyEats November 21, 2011

Same here. I have more than made up for it by now by watching all the episodes 500 times. ;)

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12 Regina November 21, 2011

Hi Heather, This looks scrumptious. You think I could use kielbasa sausage in stead?
Thanks Regina

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13 Heather November 22, 2011

definitely! i was just thinking the other day that kielbasa would be great in it as well.

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14 Cassie November 21, 2011

I watched every.single.episode of Friends and I still watch them. In fact, I watched reruns all day yesterday, it was glorious! This sounds fabulous…I might be stopping to pick up butternut squash on the way home tonight, no joking!

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15 Heather Eats Almond Butter November 22, 2011

Chicken apple sausage is never an option. In fact, it’s mandatory in my opinion.

Looks delicious Heather!

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16 laura November 22, 2011

i feel exactly the same way about Friends — i wasn’t allowed to watch it either and i’m glad! love it now in a way that i could not have understood then!

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17 jen b November 23, 2011

Made this for lunch today! YUMMY! It’s awesome! Definitely a very grownup version of mac & cheese w/ hot dogs! =)

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18 Jamie November 23, 2011

OMG chicken apple sausage and cheddar? I am so loving this mac and cheese! And I love the addition of butternut squash which must give it an extra sweet touch. Love it!!! Give me a huge bowl of this and what a perfect Thanksgiving it would be!

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